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Focus on growth in Budget
February, 16th 2010

Urging Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee not to be swayed by concerns on rising inflation, DLF Chairman K P Singh on Monday said the government needed to focus on growth in the forthcoming Budget to achieve 9-10 per cent economic expansion during 2010-11.

"Finance Minister, in my view, should support growth and not be bothered that much about inflation," Singh, who heads the country's largest real estate firm, replied to a query on budget expectations.

"Finance Minister should take all measures, which are required to continue with the effort of taking our GDP to, I believe, 9-10 per cent. He should not take any measures, which can bring disincentives for growth," he said on the sidelines of a FICCI conference.

The country's economy is estimated to grow at 7.2 per cent in 2009-10 from 6.7 per cent last fiscal. Inflation on Monday rose to 8.56 per cent in January from 7.31 per cent in the previous month on various food items turning costlier.

When asked about the steps required to curb inflation, Singh said the government should take measures to boost supply in order to check rising prices of foodgrains.

He pointed out that housing prices, too, would come down only when supply increases.

Earlier speaking at the function, Singh said all is not well with the urban development sector. "The vast majority of urban population lives in slums and with the rising curve of GDP growth in our country, these slums will keep increasing unless drastic measures are taken to set things right".

Singh prescribed that the public private partnership (PPP) model should be actively encouraged to tackle the gigantic task of urban development, where public sector role should be confined to that of a facilitator and regulator, leaving the conceptualisation and execution of projects to the private sector.

He noted that policy makers should focus on augmenting supply instead of managing shortages. "Only through  increased supplies and creation of surplus the market forces and prices can be brought under control".

DLF Chairman demanded that all existing town planning and urban development laws and regulations, which are based on restriction of Floor Area Ratio (FAR), should be replaced by liberal market economy and town planning regulations.

Singh said although Rajiv Awas Yojna is a good plan for making India slum free, there has been no worthwhile progress in developing these slums due to lack of adequate incentives to the private sector. "One innovative idea would be treating slum development at par with SEZs".

He suggested that urban development should be introduced as one of the subjects in the education curriculum.

 
 
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